Rival apprentice wizards join forces when their teacher is accused of treason and their island is threatened.
Twelve-year-old Antonia lives on the island of Medasia and dreams of becoming a wizard. Currently studying magic with Master Betrys, Antonia has a brilliant command of the technical aspects of wizardry, but her innate magical power is limited. Then Moppe, also 12, an uneducated girl with “olive skin…a shade darker” than Antonia’s, arrives as under-cook. Barely able to read, Moppe’s a powerful, untrained magical prodigy who instantly becomes Master Betrys’ newest apprentice and Antonia’s rival. When rebels seek to find the lost crown of Medasia and liberate the island, Antonia’s politically powerful mother orders her to find the crown first or forget her magical studies. After Master Betrys is arrested on suspicion of supporting the rebels, her rival apprentices use Antonia’s magical knowledge and Moppe’s magical power to search for the crown, hoping to clear their teacher’s name. Surviving the Forest of Silent Fears, outwitting the voice-stealing Speakthief, and deposing a warmongering mermaid, Antonia and Moppe recover the lost crown only to face a shocking betrayal, testing their newly forged friendship. Antonia’s lively first-person narration lends immediacy and suspense to this compelling, complex adventure filled with capable, fully dimensional, brown-skinned women.
Clever, fast-paced fantasy punctuated with surprising twists and plenty of girl power. (Fantasy. 8-12)